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Honestly, How drivable is a Hemi powered Model A?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by manyolcars, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,636


    I have a 392 in a daily driver 1947 Mercury and that engine is extremely heavy. I steered with the throttle until I got very good front shocks and then shock mounts broke (1950 Ford pickup) and the split wishbones broke.
    The Merc is stronger and heavier than the A. So how drivable (on a daily basis) is a Hemi powered A?
  2. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 40,954


    You need to build the car around the engine. Heavier spring stouter frame etc. Then it will be real drivable.
  3. cracker head
    Joined: Oct 7, 2007
    Posts: 968

    cracker head

  4. Just like good old P&B said,,build the frame to except the engine.

    Boxing from front to back would be imperative to kept any twist to a minimum. HRP
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  5. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    It is just a matter of building the frame and suspension to carry the load and using tires of an appropriate size up front to handle that load under maneuvering.
    Basically just the same thing you would do with any engine/trans combo.
  6. fifTsix
    Joined: Jul 26, 2008
    Posts: 486

    from TEXAS

  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,354

    Atwater Mike

    Heavy??? Heck, that Hemi is only 740 lbs. (heavy is right, good info above.)

    But if cammed & carbureted mildly, and compression under 10:1, the 392 is a smooth, predictable package, nice and docile on the street and a superb highway mill.
  8. Mine handled fine, fabbed frame,thicker walled tube, my frame was extended. drove all over and worked fine, motor only mildly built.
  9. 61TBird
    Joined: Mar 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,640


  10. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,947

    Rusty O'Toole

    The big hemi is a lot of motor for a model A size car. Too much for street driving if you ask me.

    How about the smaller lighter Dodge Red Ram, or DeSoto Firedome? Or even a 354 or 331 Chrysler?

    The 331 can be bored to 354. Either can be lightened by adding an aluminum intake manifold and water pump. Not sure if there is an aluminum front cover available.

    You can get one of these down to the weight of a Chev big block or a little less, around 600 to 650 lbs.
  11. bruce bowe
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 264

    bruce bowe

    i had a 354 in a 30 tudor sedan. Homebuilt 2x4 with A rails up front, p&j dropped crossmember, 40 bones, 36 axle, posie front spring heavy, rev eye, low spring. i drove that car EVERYWHERE for four years (exwife got it). only problems i had were one bent 35 wire wheel (heavy hemi, and poor roads in indianapolis IN), and BROKE two trans (heavy hemi and heavy foot). hell of a combo "hemi in an A"
  12. dad-bud
    Joined: Aug 22, 2009
    Posts: 3,886


    As HRP noted, you gotta build the frame to suit the motor, as well as the body.
    A Model A is a light car but for a Hemi will need a heavier chassis that is adequately braced to resist the torque of a big-block or the frame will bend and it will tear up the body.
    As for driveablility, that's as much a factor of cam selection, steering, brakes, etc - not really related to whether you're packin' a Hemi, a SBC or a flattie. Some guys want an easy idle, power steer, brakes that work and everything, others are happy to put up with a grumpy pig - hmmmm, I guess it's kinda like a marraige.
    The fast sporty ones are often nice to look at but may be difficult to live with, whereas the slower, more comfortable ones can be nice for a quiet cruise........????
    Joined: Aug 7, 2009
    Posts: 2,069



    I was just admiring the construction of my stock Model A this morning on the way to work. How the rearend is connectted to the short trans then to that small, lite 4 banger then the frame is attached to that assembly. My A seems to be pretty zippy & handles quite well for what seem almost stock Model A. It does have 94carb, tube header/intake, 12v, 16" "somewhat" better wheels & drop axle.

    2 days ago I was moving this 54 Olds rocket V8 with beutiful chrome valve covers the say "OLDSMOBILE ROCKET", & 2 4bangers into the garage, we finally got rain this year in SoCal. When moving those I notice how almost a 3 to 1 weight comparison between the 2 two.

    TorqueTubes have there place. When that gets eliminated, the connection between the engine/trans & rear suspension take all the torque. You change the cars whole dynamics. Box'g a must. the longer rearend support arms are, the better.
  14. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,576

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    :rolleyes: No self respecting hot rodder would ever make a statement like that.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  15. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    A 354 or 331 is hardly any lighter.
  16. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 5,912


    Yeah I sorta thought that was a weird take...

    I like this clip too guys:

  17. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,708


    That's why Walter P. created the Dodge Red Ram so you could build a well balanced Model A. If it were my build I would be throwing a Daimler hemi in there but come to think of it, I am - just not in a Model A....
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  18. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,636


    So you guys arent breaking parts from the extra weight?
  19. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    from Sultan, WA

    a flattie is almost that heavy....
  20. desotot
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,768


    my T had a 2x3 3/16 wall frame and I drove it all over B.C. Washinton, Oregon, and Idaho . Had it for 12 years, even drove it several winters, went out side knocked the snow off my 6 94s and drove it,,,, and heck, I'm not even crazy.
  21. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,482


    Put enough leaves in the spring, box and brace the frame and drop it in. What's going to break?
  22. vintagedrags
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 314

    from Erie, PA

  23. TooManyFords
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 553

    from Peotone IL

  24. 6-71
    Joined: Sep 15, 2005
    Posts: 538


    There is a guy in the Tampa Bay area that drives the hell out of a blown Hemi powered Model A. sedan. I don't know him,but that A seems to be there anytime I go to a cruise-in or car show. That sure looks massive in a Model A .
  25. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,608

    from Hampsha

    The OP's question reminds me of the 289 vs. 427 Cobra debates.
    I'd guess that of them handles, the other is a point and shoot experience.

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